Communication, Perfectionism & Monotasking



I have this constant feeling that I have to prove myself. I’m so aware of my own weaknesses. I’m so aware of the ‘special considerations’ that I often ask of people. I’m so aware of how much trust it takes to invest time and money in someone with no real guarantee of any returns.

Maybe this is one reason why, when I’m working on something, I like to devote myself to it 100%. I want to make sure that my work is the absolute best it can be. People have trusted me, gambled on me, given me a chance when they didn’t need to…. I feel an immense responsibility to prove that their trust in me was well founded.

Maybe we’ve all felt something like this from time to time, but I tend to take it to the extreme. Even little things, non-consequential things that others wouldn’t care about, I feel that I have to get right. This is especially true of things that do not come easily to me.

Something as simple as responding to an email might take me 10 times longer than someone else. I have to read and re-read. Did I make sense? Will they understand me? Have I been polite enough? Have I communicated clearly? Have I accidentally given the wrong impression?

In face to face communication, I can tell immediately if I have been misunderstood and quickly rectify the situation before it gets out of control. Communicating in writing, especially ‘concise’ writing leaves so much room for error (like an SMS – my least favourite form of communication!!). This is especially true of people I don’t know well. How will they react? If I were a normal person, what would I think that meant? If possible, I love to run my messages past others to get a second opinion, but this is often just not possible. So I read and re-read, and over-analyse everything to make doubly sure that my message is clear.

The unfortunate truth is that my natural communication style is just a little unusual. It’s just a fact that if I don’t think about it, others often have difficulty understanding me. It’s almost like I have to translate everything that goes through my head to make it comprehensible to others. They just can’t follow my train of thought.

Here’s a question. How many things can you devote 100% of your brain power to at one time? It’s not a trick question. The answer is ONE!

As I explain in the video above, I have recently come to a much deeper understanding of what it means to be a monotasker. I do my best work when I devote myself to it 100%. It is my natural skill to bury myself in the detail, finding problems and solutions that are invisible to others. The difficulty though in this situation is that when focusing on the details, it can be easy to miss the bigger picture.

So the challenge for me is to… relax. Realise that the world will keep turning, even if I make a mistake. Communication is a two-way street. It’s not my responsibility to make sure that others hold up their end of the bargain.

When I get too stressed, I often rely on the mantra, ‘done is better than perfect’. As a naturally high achiever this is very difficult to accept. But maybe it’s ok to be ‘average’ every once in a while.


2 thoughts on “Communication, Perfectionism & Monotasking

  1. I have the same issues. Replying to emails or letters (snail mail) can take hours. I can literally sit there all day writing four small pages of communication to someone because it takes forever for me to express myself and like you say – running through a bunch of check lists in your head of whether you’ve made yourself clear, are possibly offensive, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Paul, I stumbled across your blog recently in an attempt to learn more about Aspergers and the ways in which I could be a better friend to a colleague with Aspergers as well. Your posts which are written with such clarity have provided me with wisdom and insight that has helped no end. I look forward to hearing more about your journey in future posts and YouTube clips in the meantime I want to say a BIG THANK YOU and encourage you to keep up the wonderful work and I wish you every success. Best wishes, Jamie


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